When You Lack Spiritual Discernment

It's alarming when the church relies mainly on its intellect, logic and reason to understand God and his Word---which is where it's plunging headlong today. And at best, what it thinks it has spiritually is just plain instinct, not spiritual discernment.

Instinct has to do with a fixed mindset or action in response to a stimulus. It's inbred thinking pattern. You can foretell rain by simply looking at the sky. Nothing spiritual about that. Or, you know the used cup was left on the table by your spouse or child due mainly to familiarity. If you've been counseling folks for years, you get to a point where sometimes you can easily tell their emotions by simply seeing familiar hints on their faces or moods. That's intuition and has nothing to do with God's spiritual gifts.

What It Is and It Is Not

God's discernment is purely spiritual. You get it mainly through the Spirit's leading. It's supernatural, no less. You don't discern a person's motive…

Dividing Line Between Genuine Spiritual Discernment and Being Merely Judgmental

The weakness of the church these days is that it has almost totally done away with spiritual discernment and embraced extreme moral neutrality. It doesn't want to be labeled judgmental so it totally got rid of judgment. You seldom hear the church say plainly what's right or wrong for fear of offending people.

In the process, it demonized the word "judgment" with everything bad, forgetting that you can never discern accurately without good judgment, and vice versa. If they find you guilty of judging people, they scorn and ostracize you as "judgmental" (and that in itself is being judgmental, too). But fact is, we need to judge things and people correctly to accurately discern between spirits.

Blind Leading the Blind

Paul was once pissed off by the Corinthian church for not judging correctly:
Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we …

Jesus' Real Ministry

Today, the modern church has gotten quite creative. It's doing a lot of ministries that seem to compete even with government programs or the rotary club, like dental and medical missions, sports clinics, bikers' clubs and feeding programs, to name a few. It also has crowd-drawing programs like concerts, music fests and non-stop worship that target especially the youth.

These are all good and in keeping with Paul's maxim, "All things to all men, that I may save some." Indeed, we can lend the world our creative minds in Christ to help more people. For instance, instead of just giving poor folks free meals or helping calamity victims with relief goods, we add a little spiritual color by sharing God's Word, too.

What Jesus Actually Did

But we should be careful not to neglect Jesus' real ministry in the bible. Ministry diversification is good---exploring more ways to reach people by becoming creatively responsive to their needs---but it turns diversionary if i…

When the Spiritual Battle Becomes a Power Showdown Than Just a Matter of Talk

Lots of times we forget that we're engaged in a spiritual, cosmic war, not a battle against flesh and blood. Often we think ministry is about competing with other churches for being the most numerous church of all. Thus, our actions are confined to the earthly realm, though we try to garnish what we do with prayers and worship to make it look spiritual in nature.

Stuck to the Earthly

A lot of churches can't go beyond the physical because that's all the realm they know. They grope in the dark once they try to venture even at the threshold of the supernatural. They can't tell between spirits and often mistake the devil's schemes as the will of God.

How would we react, for instance, if someone is all praises to us? Paul met a girl with a demon who praised him and company as "servants of the Most High God who are telling you the way to be saved." Sounds good to the ego. We'd probably take the compliment all ears, especially when we're so fond of re…

Nehemiah Saw the Real Problem with the Walls in Jerusalem

One day, Nehemiah asked Hanani and company about the exiles that had returned to Judah. They had been to Jerusalem and witnessed the situation for themselves. They told him: "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

How the Problem is Seen

Hanani and company understood the problem to be physical. The wall structure had been broken down, and because of that the Jews there were in big trouble and disgrace. Even today, many people cannot see beyond the natural. They see their need for a church building (or repair of the same), low attendance or church income, lack of musical instruments, or lack of good church programs. But Nehemiah saw the real problem at once. He prayed:
Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even …

Faith that Releases GOD's Power at Will

GOD is powerful and he unleashes his power at will. Just one word or thought from him and things happen. But sometimes he relegates that power to some people, those with faith that impresses him. Jesus said, "Nothing will be impossible for you," [Matthew 17.20]. Notice the words "for you." We often hear how nothing is impossible to God. But this is different---nothing will be impossible for you.

God is impressed with faith that releases God's power at will, and I mean your will. When God's faith becomes your faith, his will becomes your will. He becomes comfortable with you and let's you function like him---like God. Oops! Your eyes may have widened when you read what I just wrote here. Like "God's faith." Does God have faith?

Have the Faith of God

Literally, Mark 11.22 reads "Have the faith of God." An interlinear rendition has it, "Have faith from God." It's faith from God or God's faith. Have faith in God and…

The "Just-Say-The-Word" Faith That Impressed Jesus

Faith---the simpler it is the more impressive to God. Often we want to do great things that require what we think is "great faith." No wonder worship is sometimes like a circus with lots of death-defying stunts---flying trapeze, eating fire or swallowing swords. Martha thought faith was like that. So she couldn't believe when her sister Mary simply sat at Jesus' feet listening and got his approval.

The woman with issue of blood for 12 years was even more radical. She didn't pray or say a word. She just "thought to herself." It literally released power from Jesus at her will that Jesus didn't notice it. God will answer you on the spot even if you don't pray or say anything. Even if you just talk to yourself---as long as the faith involved impresses him.

The centurion also got it right. It's not indicated how this Italian army officer knew the secret to God's heart, but he did exactly what God was after in a believer. What did he do? Noth…